I fasted today. For Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, technically, is supposed to be a very strict fast. Technically. Even pregnant women are supposed to take part with permission from a doctor. No eating or drinking. At the same time, it is Judaism, so I feel like there's always room for discussion. Because the cool thing about Yom Kippur is that Yahweh is supposed to be atoning too. And you know he has a hell of a lot more to atone for than your average Jew. There he is, spending 25 hours not eating any Krispy Kreams or Fried Chicken. Like Americans, this is mostly what God eats. So, because of that necessity for God to atone for the past year's ills, I feel like there is a little room for negotiation. I feel like you could go, "Hey, God, listen . . . You have a cup of coffee, I'll have a cup of coffee (shrug) no big whoop," and he'd be totally cool with it.
I stayed pretty true, mostly. Had to walk the dog a couple of miles last night, so when I got home I had a couple slugs of seltzer, otherwise known as "Jewish Holy Water."
The kids were fascinated by the fasting. I've done it before, but this is the first year they've paid attention. The day started with the Peanut asking, "Daddy, are you hungry? Are you hungry Daddy? Want me to get you some cereal?" Followed by truly evil giggling.
Then I had to take her to her swimming lessons. Always a good idea on a very tiny person's part to poke a hungry Jew before they take you to a pool.
I brought lunch home to everyone because there was no way I was cooking today, and that's when things got tough.
Because I am infused with self-loathing and irony, I brought everyone BLT's. I know, I know. They were cheap, everyone likes them, and if you didn't fast today then please stop judging. I was atoning for the sin as I committed it. I am nothing if not an efficient sinner.
The heavy smell of bacon and the sight of everyone chewing got to me so I high tailed it upstairs to lay down with the blanket over my head until their dirty, sinful, delicious feast was done.
When the kids asked why I did it, I told them because it made me think about being Jewish, about how and what I did during the year behind me and what I was going to do with the year ahead. I told them it leaves me feeling cleaned out and ready to embrace the New Year. While I didn't say this, I also did it for them. So they could see the tradition, realize it was part of their heritage, and then make their own decision about doing it and if so why they're doing it when they get older. I didn't mention atonement or God, because I don't actually believe in God. I do believe in atonement to some degree, but I don't know if one manages it by skipping a few meals.
And it does sort of clean me out and open me up again. My Wife went out shopping, so I zapped the kids some popcorn (the will it took to not pop one of those, salt, buttery, hot, crunchy morsels into my mouth as I was serving may very well have been atonement, now that I think about it. It certainly felt like it. That has got to make up for some sins. A lot of sins.) and put on the movie Rise Of The Guardians. It involved Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost, and the Power of Hope and belief and shit. Not a great movie, not a horrible movie, but enough of a movie to make me weep quietly near the end as the kids watched and everything came out ok. Even worse, later that night, my wife and I watched Parental Guidance, produced by and starring the King Of Schmaltz, Billy Crystal. Multiple tear ups on that one too. And this was after I'd broken my fast. On a bowl of chicken soup, some bread, and yes, the leftovers from lunch. A BLT. Fuck you, my name was written in the Book of Life for the year, and you can't erase that shit. Even with bacon. You could make it greasy as hell trying, but you can't actually erase it.
The Peanut told me how proud she was of me for fasting, seemed very relieved I was eating, and kept asking me if I felt "cleaned out." I told her yes and hugged her and thought how unfortunate it was that the phrase "cleaned out" sounds suspiciously like instead of fasting, I went and had an enema. Maybe next year.
P.S. Spell Check told me to replace Yom Kippur with "Yon Kipper." As always, fucking anti-semetic Spell Check.